Friday, December 14, 2018

Banana Boat Song (Day O), 1956 by Harry Belafonte

Banana Boat Song (Day O), 1956 by Harry Belafonte


Double click to enlarge.

Banana Boat Song (Day O)
by Harry Belafonte

Day-o, day-o
Daylight come and me wan' go home
Day, me say day, me say day, me say day
Me say day, me say day-o
Daylight come and me wan' go home

Work all night on a drink of rum
Daylight come and me wan' go home
Stack banana 'til de mornin' come
Daylight come and me wan' go home

Come, mister tally man, tally me banana
Daylight come and me wan' go home
Come, mister tally man, tally me banana
Daylight come and me wan' go home

Lift six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch
Daylight come and me wan' go home
Six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch
Daylight come and me wan' go home

Day, me say day-o
Daylight come and me wan' go home
Day, me say day, me say day, me say day
Daylight come and me wan' go home

A beautiful bunch o' ripe banana
Daylight come and me wan' go home
Hide the deadly black tarantula
Daylight come and me wan' go home

Lift six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch
Daylight come and me wan' go home
Six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch
Daylight come and me wan' go home

Day, me say day-o
Daylight come and me wan' go home
Day, me say day, me say day, me say day
Daylight come and me wan' go home

Come, mister tally man, tally me banana
Daylight come and me wan' go home
Come, mister tally man, tally me banana
Daylight come and me wan' go home

Day-o, day-o
Daylight come and me wan' go home
Day, me say day, me say day, me say day
Me say day, me say day-o
Daylight come and me wan' go home

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Queen Katherine's Dream by William Blake (1757-1827)

Queen Katherine's Dream by William Blake (1757-1827)

Click to enlarge.

Christmas as a celebration, not a chore.

The last two or three years, between work and volunteer activities and family commitments and schedules, I have found myself almost treating Christmas as a chore rather than with the religious awe and celebration it deserves or as the family occasion and rituals which I have always loved so much.

I am trying to do better this year.

As part of that, I am trying to get my dose of Advent and Christmas music in place.

I found this beautiful Christmas Candelight Service of Lessons and Carols at The Lawrenceville School from 2017. My old boarding school.

A beautiful church, a beautiful service, a richness of traditions.


Double click to enlarge.

Shadow Rise on the Inside Passage

Shadow Rise on the Inside Passage. From NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Click to enlarge.

Image Credit & Copyright: Steve Cullen

Explanation: At sunset look east not west. As Earth's dark shadow rises from the eastern horizon, faint and subtle colors will appear opposite the setting Sun. This beautiful evening sea and skyscape records the reflective scene from a cruise on the well-traveled Alaskan Inside Passage in the Pacific Northwest. Along the horizon the fading sunset gives way to the pinkish anti-twilight arch, more poetically known as the Belt of Venus. Often overlooked at sunset in favor of the brighter western horizon, the lovely arch is tinted by filtered sunlight backscattered in the dense atmosphere, hugging the planet's rising blue-grey shadow.

Someone made eye contact with me on the tube once

From ITV, New York Times request for London 'petty crime' stories backfires in very British fashion. Well, that didn't turn out so well. This was ll on Twitter. From the ITV report.
A New York Times Twitter call out for 'petty crime' in London stories got a very British response when the post was met with a barrage of sarcastic replies from Londoners.

The American news organisation - that recently published an article which suggested everyone in London was eating boiled mutton - wrote on Twitter: "Have you experienced a petty crime in London? Click to tell us your story."

In response, there were hundreds of very British crimes reported, ranging from the unspoken no eye-contact or talking rule on the tube, to queue jumping.

"Someone made eye contact with me on the tube once. The culprit is still at large, despite a massive police operation," wrote @ralasdair.

@SamANutt wrote: "Once on the Northern Line in Clapham a small group of people spontaneously sung a christmas song - council and police failed to issue ASBOs to any offenders."

In relation to queue jumping crimes, Dr Adam Rutherford said: "The Post Office we were queuing in a single line for multiple tills, but someone went to the front of an empty till. He soon saw the error of his ways and the tutting stopped (although was discussed after he had left),"

London's sometimes criminally expense beer prices were held to account.

@GarethAOwen1 wrote simply: "£6 for a pint. Daylight robbery!"

Meanwhile, @eapbee said: "The Rivoli Bar in the Ritz charged me £90 for a Negroni. Incredible scenes."

"Ordered a tea and they put the milk in first," lamented @JimMFelton.

While Georgina Adlam‏ said: "I ordered tea and they didn’t warm the pot first #theempirehasfallen"
Read the whole thing to get a sense of the anarchy plaguing London.

Here is the originating NYT tweet. Scroll down for a good sense of British drollery.



Who you going to believe, establishment experts or your lying eyes?

Very timely.



The other day I was listening to NPR while driving. Only caught part of the news report. Apparently there is some global climate change conference going on in Poland where all the world experts on AGW were bemoaning the ineffectiveness of past global treaties from Rio to Kyoto to Copenhagen to Paris. There were especially berating the US for withdrawing from the Paris Accord. A handful of American city mayors were on junkets to the conference, committing that American cities would do their part even if the orange buffoon would not. Well, they didn't exactly use those words but that was the implication.

I couldn't help but wonder at the lack of self-awareness. These are the experts. And I stipulate that the US, with 20-25% of the global economy, also has an outsized contribution to the absolute level of CO2.

But . . .

These treaties are all about reducing from where you started. Given that, what are the results for all the countries which are so committed to the idea that negotiated treaties will result in adherence and reduction in absolute emissions. That's what you see above in Lomborg's tweet. While the biggest proportion of these increases are due to China and India, virtually all the OECD countries have increased their emissions as well.

Which large OECD country has actually reduced its absolute CO2 emissions almost continuously over the past twenty or more years?

Carbon dioxide emissions from energy consumption in the U.S. from 1975 and 2017 (in million metric tons of carbon dioxide)*

In absolute emissions, we are below where we were twenty-two years ago in 1995. And in per capita terms, were are down even more dramatically (our population is up ~65 million since 1995 and yet our absolute emissions are down. It is, in many respects, a great success story. These results are being driven primarily by the retirement of coal generation and its replacement by natural gas generation - a transition due in turn to the activities of entrepreneurial frackers.

Which is the irony. American Presidents have generally been leery of centrally planned global treaties and Congress even more so. The nation which did not ratify Kyoto and has exited the Paris Accord, trusting more to free markets, is also the one which has accomplished the most in reducing CO2 emissions.

Listening to the interviewees on the NPR show, it was clear that their ire was directed at the US for not being a good faith participant in all these global treaties. And yet, despite all those treaties requiring planned and regulated responses, the US and its free markets have accomplished what the conference leaders ostensibly desire, a per capita and an absolute reduction in CO2 emissions.

I couldn't help but ask myself, what do they care more about? Reduction in emissions or binding regulatory treaties that don't work?

The AGW conferees are left in the position of complaining about the US for achieving the goals they want but through strategies of which they disapprove (free markets).

There are nuances at the margin to all of the above argument but it is correct in broad terms.

It is not dissimilar to the New Normal advocates. Whatever economic policies were adopted from 2008 to 2016, nothing seemed to ignite the economy. We got used to an anemic 1.5% growth, stifling the dreams and aspirations of most Americans. Experts made the claim that in a new, internet dis-intermediated economy, 1.5% was the new normal. Tax cuts and reductions in regulations would have no effect.

Then we do tax cuts and reduce regulations and the economy is back to 2%, 2.5%, 3%, touching even on 3.5% growth.

I am hugely adverse to the deficit spending that has gone with these policies but it is clear that this deficit spending is far more generative than TARP and other deficit spending from 2008-2016 when we doubled the national debt.

So what do the experts and establishment know about AGW, decarbonization and growing economies? If you take them at their own self-assessment, everything. If you look at the numbers and believe your lying eyes, then nothing.

You would be able to see that only if you know a little about history

From The Historical Profession is Committing slow-Motion Suicide by Hal Brands and Francis J. Gavin.
A recent study confirms a disturbing trend: American college students are abandoning the study of history. Since 2008, the number of students majoring in history in U.S. universities has dropped 30 percent, and history now accounts for a smaller share of all U.S. bachelor’s degrees than at any time since 1950. Although all humanities disciplines have suffered declining enrollments since 2008, none has fallen as far as history. And this decline in majors has been even steeper at elite, private universities — the very institutions that act as standard bearers and gate-keepers for the discipline. The study of history, it seems, is itself becoming a relic of the past.

It is tempting to blame this decline on relatively recent factors from outside the historical profession. There are more majors to choose from than in the past. As a broader segment of American society has pursued higher education, promising job prospects offered by other fields, from engineering to business, has no doubt played a role in history’s decline. Women have moved in disproportionate numbers away from the humanities and towards the social sciences. The lingering consequences of the Great Recession and the growing emphasis on STEM education have had their effects, as well.

Yet a deeper dive into the statistics reveals that history’s fortunes have worsened not over a period of years, but over decades. In the late 1960s, over six percent of male undergraduates and almost five percent of female undergraduates majored in history. Today, those numbers are less than 2 percent and 1 percent. History’s collapse began well before the financial crash.
All that is consistent with other research I have read.

I disagree with their conclusion:
This fact underscores the sad truth of history’s predicament: The discipline mostly has itself to blame for its current woes. In recent decades, the academic historical profession has become steadily less accessible to students and the general public — and steadily less relevant to addressing critical matters of politics, diplomacy, and war and peace. It is not surprising that students are fleeing history, for the historical discipline has long been fleeing its twin responsibilities to interact with the outside world and engage some of the most fundamental issues confronting the United States.
As they mentioned, all humanity's have been in decline for some decades. As more and more people attend university (from 5% of the population to 30% of the population) and as the cost of higher education inflates far faster than virtually every other purchase, there is a premium on monetizable degrees.

More people graduating with a college degree commodifies the product - it is less of a differentiator in the market and therefore worth less. The degree becomes worth less as an investment.

Broader/looser admissions standards reduces the capacity of a degree to signal capability and achievement. The degree becomes worth less as an investment.

More expensive cost of education means that students have to shift their studies into fields with more obvious and remunerative opportunities.

A college degree is worth less and less and costs more - no wonder people are, in general, moving away from hard content but low remuneration degrees. They shift into either hard content degrees with high remuneration or into low content degrees with low remuneration.

In addition, the dominance of low capability administrators with no visible spinal structure, in combination with the anti-western civilization orientation of radical students ("Hey hey, ho ho, Western Culture's got to go”) and the generally high level of statism/neo-Marxism/Postmodernism in most universities, you'd have to be almost a glutton for punishment to pursue history as a major.

University administrators at the behest of a minority of radical students have attacked the goose that laid the golden egg. Western Civilization has brought us to the point where people are living longer, better, more prosperous, healthier lives everywhere in the world and yet academia cannot help itself. They are slaves to their constrained postmodernist world view.

Brands and Gavin lay the decline at the feet of historians. I am not so sure. I am a lifelong history reader. There has always been a portfolio of gifted historical interpreters who are also gifted writers, historians of narrow technical focus, and just plan sloppy history writing. I am not convinced I see much change in the percentages of each of those groups.

But this persistent decline in people taking a history degree might have a consequence. I am not certain that it is that we have fewer historians. I think it is one or two degrees removed from that. If fewer people are taking degrees in history then there are fewer and fewer conversations about history which other students can be party to, regardless of their majors. Since most people pick up most their history from vernacular channels rather than academic channels, then this loss of exposure to conversations laced with history might be the greater consequence.

And an absence of historical knowledge, perspective or knowledge is increasingly manifest among the young and the media. It is the only way to credit otherwise unfathomable claims. They must simply not know. If anyone thinks we are in the worst of polarized times, then they have forgotten the Civil War, Bloody Kansas, Shay's Rebellion, Reconstruction, desegregation, domestic protests over the Vietnam War, the Chicago Convention of 1968, Kent State, etc.

Our establishment-Mandarin Class with their monopoly media are distressed and polarized, but the rest of America is pretty fine and easy-going. But you would be able to see that only if you know a little about history.

Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy by The Andrews Sisters

Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy by The Andrews Sisters


Double click to enlarge

Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy
by The Andrews Sisters

He was a famous trumpet man from out Chicago way
He had a boogie style that no one else could play
He was the top man at his craft
But then his number came up and he was gone with the draft
He's in the army now, a-blowin' reveille
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B

They made him blow a bugle for his Uncle Sam
It really brought him down because he couldn't jam
The captain seemed to understand
Because the next day the cap' went out and drafted a band
And now the company jumps when he plays reveille
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B

A-toot, a-toot, a-toot-diddelyada-toot
He blows it eight-to-the-bar, in boogie rhythm
He can't blow a note unless the bass and guitar is playin' with 'I'm
He makes the company jump when he plays reveille
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B

He was our boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B
And when he plays boogie woogie bugle he was buzy as a "bzzz" bee
And when he plays he makes the company jump eight-to-the-bar
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B

Toot-toot-toot, toot-diddelyada, toot-diddelyada
Toot, toot, he blows it eight-to-the-bar
He can't blow a note if the bass and guitar isn't with 'I'm
A-a-a-and the company jumps when he plays reveille
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B

He puts the boys asleep with boogie every night
And wakes 'em up the same way in the early bright
They clap their hands and stamp their feet
Because they know how he plays when someone gives him a beat
He really breaks it up when he plays reveille
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B

Da-doo-da da-doo-da-da da
Da-doo-da da-doo-da-da da
Da-doo-da da-doo-da-da da
Da-doo-da da-doo-da-da
A-a-a-and the company jumps when he plays reveille
He's the boogie woogie bugle boy of Company B!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

I knew we were going to crash.

Wonderfully remarkable. From Helen Klaben Kahn, Survivor of a 49-Day Yukon Ordeal, Dies at 76 by Richard Sandomir. The obituary of Helen Klaben Kahn is the opportunity to recount an astonishing adventure.
Helen Klaben, looking for adventure, left Brooklyn at age 20 in the summer of 1962 and drove to Alaska with a woman she had met through a newspaper ad. After several months in Fairbanks she was ready to move on, perhaps to explore Hong Kong or India.

But first she had to reach San Francisco, her portal to Asia, so to get there she took a flight from Fairbanks to Whitehorse, the capital of the Yukon Territory, in early 1963 on a single-engine airplane piloted by Ralph Flores, an aircraft mechanic from California, sharing the expenses with him.

After being grounded for three days by snowstorms, they took off on the next leg, to Fort St. John, British Columbia, on Feb. 4, despite still-dangerous weather.

Flying for hours through blinding snow and harsh winds, Mr. Flores tried to find his bearings by taking the plane above the clouds. When he descended, he hoped to follow landmarks or the path of the Alaska Highway to reach Fort St. John.

But Mr. Flores, an inexperienced pilot, did not know how to fly using only the aircraft’s instruments — an essential skill in poor weather conditions — and did not bring adequate food or basic survival gear, like an ax, sleeping bags or a rifle. (A few months after the crash, his pilot’s license was suspended for a year by the Federal Aviation Administration.)

“I knew he didn’t know where he was, and he wouldn’t say we were lost, but I knew we were,” Ms. Klaben later said in an interview with The Saturday Evening Post. “We were flying by a mountain and I saw trees right below us. I knew we were going to crash.”

Mr. Flores recalled, also to The Post: “I said out loud, ‘O.K., Helen, here it comes.’ I saw the right wing tip hit the trees and I just closed my eyes.”

The plane crashed into a desolate, forested stretch of a mountainside near the Yukon-British Columbia border.

But they not only miraculously survived the crash, Ms. Klaben suffering a broken left arm and Mr. Flores fracturing his jaw and several ribs; they also went on to endure 49 days of subzero temperatures, some of that time huddled inside the cabin of the plane’s wreckage, some of it in a lean-to Mr. Flores built, until they were finally rescued.
She lived a full life. Read the whole thing at the length for details of the adventure. I like that she and her pilot remained friends the rest of their lives.
In 1975, she and Mr. Flores — they stayed friends until his death in 1997 — were advisers to “Hey, I’m Alive,” an ABC television movie based on her book starring Sally Struthers and Ed Asner.

Charon: Moon of Pluto

Charon: Moon of Pluto. From NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Click to enlarge.

Image Credit: NASA, Johns Hopkins Univ./APL, Southwest Research Institute, U.S. Naval Observatory

Explanation: A darkened and mysterious north polar region known to some as Mordor Macula caps this premier high-resolution view. The portrait of Charon, Pluto's largest moon, was captured by New Horizons near the spacecraft's closest approach on July 14, 2015. The combined blue, red, and infrared data was processed to enhance colors and follow variations in Charon's surface properties with a resolution of about 2.9 kilometers (1.8 miles). A stunning image of Charon's Pluto-facing hemisphere, it also features a clear view of an apparently moon-girdling belt of fractures and canyons that seems to separate smooth southern plains from varied northern terrain. Charon is 1,214 kilometers (754 miles) across. That's about 1/10th the size of planet Earth but a whopping 1/2 the diameter of Pluto itself, and makes it the largest satellite relative to its parent body in the Solar System. Still, the moon appears as a small bump at about the 1 o'clock position on Pluto's disk in the grainy, negative,telescopic picture inset at upper left. That view was used by James Christy and Robert Harrington at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Flagstaff to discover Charon 40 years ago in June of 1978.